Diabetic retinopathy is a frequent complication of diabetes mellitus and one of the common causes of blindness. Circular RNAs (circRNAs) can modulate various biological behaviors of human diseases. Circ_0084043 is a novel circRNA, and its function in diabetic retinopathy progression is unclear. Adult retinal pigment epithelial cells (ARPE-19) were treated with high glucose (HG). RNA levels of circ_0084043, microRNA-128-3p (miR-128-3p), and thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP) were detected by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazole-2-y1)-2, 5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide and flow cytometry were, respectively, used to examine cell viability and apoptosis. Apoptotic and TNXIP relative protein levels were measured by Western blot. The combination between targets was analyzed through dual-luciferase reporter assay or RNA immunoprecipitation assay. Results showed that HG induced the upregulation of circ_0084043 and the downregulation of miR-128-3p in ARPE-19 cells. Circ_0084043 knockdown or miR-128-3p overexpression mitigated the HG-mediated cell viability inhibition, apoptosis promotion, and inflammatory response. Circ_0084043 targeted miR-128-3p and miR-128-3p inhibitor returned the regulation of si-circ_0084043 in HG-treated cells. TXNIP was the target gene of miR-128-3p and TXNIP overexpression abolished the miR-128-3p-mediated effects after HG treatment. Circ_0084043 regulated the TXNIP expression to activate Wnt/β-catenin signal pathway by targeting miR-128-3p. Our findings unraveled that circ_0084043 promoted the HG-induced retinal pigment epithelial cell injury through activating the Wnt/β-catenin signal pathway by the miR-128-3p/TXNIP axis. Circ_0084043 might be an available biomarker in diabetic retinopathy diagnosis and therapy.

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